Postal Service Apologizes for Denying Mail Deliveries to Israel

Faced criticism from human rights groups

August 14, 2014

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is apologizing to customers in several states who were reportedly denied delivery of their mail to Israel, according to a USPS spokesman.

The USPS has faced criticism in recent days from human rights groups after reports from several states emerged that customers were told that mail to Israel was not being accepted as a result of the current conflict in the Gaza Strip and the brief suspension in U.S. flights to the Jewish State.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says that it has "filed complaints" from USPS customers in Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey "who were improperly informed" that deliveries to Israel had been stopped.

"The postal employees have told these individuals that current USPS policy says that mail to Israel cannot be accepted because of the current crisis," ADL national director Abraham Foxman, said in a statement on Wednesday.  "Only once employees sought clarification from supervisors in Washington did these post offices accept packages and letters to Israel."

The USPS admitted that some customers may have been turned away and apologized for the confusion when reached for comment by the Washington Free Beacon.

"Any post office that might have turned away customers tendering mail addressed to Israel and dispatched by the U.S. Postal Service during this time did so in error, and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience they experienced as a result," a USPS spokesman said in a statement.

No authorization was ever granted to stop mail delivery to Israel and the USPS attempted to ensure that service to Israel continued during the duration of the Federal Aviation Authority’s (FAA) suspension of flights to Israel last month.

"There was no authorized announcement of a temporary suspension of international mail dispatched abroad by the U.S. Postal Service to Israel during the FAA flight suspension affecting Ben Gurion International Airport on July 22 and 23," the spokesman said. "During this period, the U.S. Postal Service continued to dispatch abroad U.S. mail and packages addressed to Israel through transportation on cargo flights and other carriers that were authorized to fly to Ben Gurion airport into Israel."

The ADL urged Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to address the situation and ensure that all USPS employees are aware that deliveries to Israel are being accepted.

The ADL stated in its letter "that some of Postal Service employees appear to have misunderstood the temporary suspension of mail delivery during a 36-hour period in July as being permanent," according to the group’s statement. "Mail delivery was stopped after the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily imposed a ban on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv and should have resumed immediately after the ban ended."

The ADL "urged the Postal Service to ensure that all of its employees are aware that mail delivery to Israel has not been suspended," according to the statement.

The USPS spokesman told the Free Beacon that delivery services provided by FedEx Express were impacted by the FAA’s flight ban.

"We note, however, that FedEx Express, which provides international transportation and delivery for Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) service, was subject to the FAA flight suspension affecting Ben Gurion International Airport, impacting GXG service to Israel during July 22 and 23," the spokesman admitted.

"Consequently, the money back guarantee for GXG service is not available for GXG shipments in transit to Israel during the FAA suspension," the spokesman explained. "All post offices are aware that all mail is moving to Israel as of July 23."

Published under: Gaza , Israel